AMES, Iowa – Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads has a starting quarterback for the season-opener against North Dakota State (Aug. 30). His name is Sam Richardson.
Rhoads announced the decision to the media after this morning’s practice.
Richardson, a junior from Winter Park, Fla., was ISU’s starting quarterback in the first eight games of the 2013 season, coming out of the gates with outstanding numbers when he passed for more than 240 yards in the first four games.
Injuries, especially a tender ankle, hampered Richardson’s productivity later in the season and was eventually replaced by Grant Rohach as the Cyclone signal-caller for the final four games.
Rhoads noted the poise and leadership Richardson emanated throughout the first two weeks of fall camp.
“Sam has displayed great leadership and that certainly includes poise in the pocket where he has been very much in control of our offense and of himself,” Rhoads said. “His understanding of the scheme and his decision making has really grown in the last two weeks, and maybe as much as anything, he is throwing a great ball, an accurate ball, a tight ball and a catchable ball.”
Richardson’s road to starting quarterback began in his freshman season (2012) when he replaced a concussed Steele Jantz in the first quarter of the Kansas game. He proceeded to dissect the Kansas secondary by connecting on 23-of-27 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-23 Cyclone victory.
Richardson’s first four games of 2013 were solid, completing 62.3 percent of his passes and nine touchdowns despite tweaking his ankle in the season-opener vs. UNI.
Unfortunately, Richardson re-injured the ankle in the Texas Tech game and his mobility and efficiency suffered throughout the remainder of the season. On top of the ankle injury, Richardson also played with a jammed thumb for much of the season.
One of Richardson’s strengths is his mobility. In his first six games as a starter, Richardson produced three games of 70 yards or more rushing. Despite his limited playing time late in the 2013 season, he still ranked third on the team in rushing with 356 yards.
Richardson is now ready to focus on North Dakota State.
“I’m excited,” Richardson said. “Obviously, going into the season this is what I wanted, so it’s a nice relief that I will be back there.”
Richardson has totaled 1,938 passing yards, 19 touchdown completions and 589 rushing yards in his Cyclone career. His 19 career touchdown passes is three shy of ISU’s top-10. He had an eight-game streak of completing a touchdown pass end in the Baylor game last season, tying for the third longest streak in school history.